I'm pretty convinced that what trialing dogs does is whiddle away at one's ego until all that is left is a vessel that can whistle and cuss fairly automatically. Maybe that's just me.
Lacamas Valley was our final summer trial. Pat, as I've said, hurt his back passenger foot (his nail was completely torn off) a few weeks ago and so I have not worked or exercised him to any degree prior to this trial, or really since the last trial. I'm told, and believe, that this shouldn't matter. I keep thinking of it as a great excuse though. I'd like to have a commemmorative plate made.
I retired Pat on both runs. I didn't have a handle on him. Couldn't get him to stop, he was in frantic mode, wasn't listening; I'm sure I wasn't telling him what he needed to hear when he needed to hear it, but I just felt helpless watching him. Like I should find something else to do while he tarried here and there with his sheep; stay at the post for when he eventually needed a gate opened, but read a good book, put down my whistle and pick up a harmonica…or a kazoo.
Instead I'd whistle down, yell a correction, and the most I'd get was a pause down then right back to frantic. It was like running him a year ago. I do not THINK that it was ALL me…I think he was, for whatever reason or reasons, just not listening. There is a lot of pressure on that field. (Matching commemmorative glass)
Good dogs have bad days, venues. Whatever. (YES!! Napkin!)
It was discouraging, but I wasn't going to stand out there watching things be all fucky, screaming commands he wouldn't take. Pat's nearly 11. He doesn't need this shit. Neither do I.
Jai was great. Both her outruns were beautiful, nice lift, and really perfect straight fetch right through the panels. The sheep were tough and the course is tough and we scored a 59 on thursday. We gripped off on friday. The sheep tried to turn back one too many times. I didn't blame her. I had planned to grip myself, but she beat me to it. I was really really happy with her.
Now we are home and I plan to get Pat back into shape, work him. Buy a harmonica. I'm looking forward to working Jai. Our next trials are in cooler weather.